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“The gods of the Heathen were good fellows.”

October 4, 2009

Portrait of Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Alban, by John Vanderbank (ca. 1731), after a portrait by an unknown artist (ca. 1618)

“The quarrels, and divisions for Religion, were evils unknown to the Heathen: and no marvel; for it is the true God that is the jealous God; and the gods of the Heathen were good fellows. But yet the bonds of religious unity, are so to be strengthened, as the bonds of humane society be not dissolved. Lucretius the Poet, when he beheld the act of Agamemnon, enduring and assisting at the sacrifice of his daughter, concludes with this verse:

Tanta relligio potuit suadare malorum.†

But what would he have done, if he had known the massacre of France, or the powder treason of England? Certainly he would have been seven times more Epicure and Atheist than he was.”

Francis Bacon, “Of Religion” (Essays, 1612)

† “There are so many other religions from which one might choose.”

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